Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Knitting & Weaving with a Migraine

It's not been the worst of migraines. . . not like the ones I used to get which were accompanied by throbbing pain, light sensitivity & gastrointestinal pyrotechnics, but nevertheless it's here. The thing I've noticed over the last year or two is that although the pain & nausea are much better than they used to be, my brain just doesn't work right when a migraine hits. Things that out to be completely obvious & easy to do become a challenge. Things like knowing what day it is & getting to the right place at the right time, or getting my clothes on right-side-out.

When the migraines were diagnosed a few years ago, that's when I started knitting again after a very long break. It was about all I could manage to do, to sit in a room with subdued light and handle yarn. The rhythm of the activity and feel of the fiber was soothing. It was during this time that I began to spin yarn too, which I consider to be the ultimate relaxing activity for me, other than, say, having a purring kitty snuggling on my chest as I do right now.

So yesterday, as I was trying to complete my weaving homework for class, it was *not a convenient time* for me to get a headache. I had woven the small m's & o's design as assigned by my teacher, and was planning to experiment with the size & arrangement of the blocks to create a different design. I wrote out a new treadling sequence which I thought would bring a symmetrical, but different, appearance to the fabric, but in weaving it got what looked to me like cottage cheese. Totally unimpressive. And I wasn't getting what I should have in the way of blocks of floats (which, if you really look, you just might be able to see in the first section of the sample). So I re-wove the assigned sequence. More cottage cheese. Good grief. Did some evil troll visit and reconfigure my treadle tie-ups? Or is it just that my brain is not working? Imitrex works, definitely, on the headache, but the brain fuzz remains.

Maybe today is a good day for un-knitting. I think just maybe I could accomplish that. The lace shawls (yes, all three Fiddlesticks designs in progress) are set aside today. The sweater sleeve (which also serves as my swatch), started awhile back out of Mountain Colors, is being frogged. I was using size 6 needles and decided that a 5 would yield a closer knit fabric, one that will be warmer this winter.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

We Get to Keep the Robin

When you get to be my age & the kids are at the point where they're choosing mates, you just hope that your kids will look at the inner qualities of people they spend time with, comprehend what is most important to them, and make choices that reflect their particular priorities. I am happy to say that Brian has found is mate, and we can't be more delighted with his choice. He proposed a few days ago, and Robin accepted. They plan to marry next spring or summer. So I will now have the two most wonderful daughters-in-law on the planet. :-) (My older son, Jeff, from my first marriage, has been married to Libby for 11 years. She, too, is a treasure.)

On the kitty front, things are going well. Angus seems to think that my wool/alpaca/opossum shawl is his Mommy, so I will spin up the remaining fiber that I have from that project & knit him a Kitty Blanket.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Weaving with an Assistant

It's been a busy week, starting with the Highland Games & new kitties last Sunday, compounded by the beginning of an intermediate weaving class on Thursday. The kitties are a welcome but time-consuming family addition. Nuzzles, Lord of the Underworld (downstairs where kids have taken up residence) likes to come up for playtime but still needs supervision with my new babies. He doesn't know his own strength, being somewhat of a kitten yet himself.

The kitties are thriving. I doubt that they're actually litter-mates. Angus seems much more of a baby than Annabelle, who is a very busy young lady. They're so sweet when they're sleeping.

Annabelle has enjoyed helping with the tri-loom shawl that we started at the Highland Games. The weaving is now complete, the shawl fulled & drying. All of the folks who had a hand in its making will get a chance to win it in a drawing. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Highland Games Sheep-to-Shawl

Well, actually, it was a Fleece-to-Shawl. We had a lovely day, somwhat warmish with just a few little drops of rain, but generally speaking couldn't have been much nicer. (This is Washington State, you know.) The fleece was from a Shetland sheep named "Susie", a lovely white & silver-gray. It had been washed & was in clumps & locks when we started. It was a joy to turn the clumps into fluffy carded roving & batts. The spinners were primed & ready to go & came through quickly with bits of yarn to get the shawl started.

It's been a year since I wove on the tri-loom (last year's Highland Games), but although I was a bit rusty, it went well. The shawl will be 100% handspun this year. Previously we've used a supplemental mohair or Harrisville yarn, but this year, we're being purists (forgot the part about the supplemental yarn). Of course, there wasn't enough time to finish at the Games, so I'm working on it at home. I'm about 3/4 done now. I'm doing plain weave this year. Last year was twill. The woman who won the shawl last year brought it & we were able to display it, too. Quite a few people stopped by to watch, feel the fiber, and even try their hand at carding & weaving.

As I mentioned in my last post, I came home from the Highland Games with two kitties. Doug has been remarkably accepting of these little additions to the family. I truly think he's relieved that I didn't bring home a goat or alpaca. Angus and Annabelle are thriving. Nuzzles, now Overlord of the Underworld (downstairs, where the kids live) occasionally comes up to play (torment unmercifully) so we keep close watch on them when together. And the kitties are not without blame. They venture to the Underworld if not supervised, too. So the stairway is now barricaded with plastic tub, bags of stuff, etc. Not quite stylish additions to the living room decor, but they work for the most part. Kitties are amazing. Everything, to them, is a toy. We're all having too much fun.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Introducing Angus the Gray & Annabelle

Well, folks, it was just a matter of time. In a flurry of activity to bring order to chaos, begun in an effort to prevent feline disruption of the yarn & fiber stash, I started reorganizing. Not that I'm finished yet. It's coming along. But at the Highland Games in Mount Vernon (lovely day, lots of guys in kilts), my Spindrifters group did a fleece-to-shawl demo. I was there carding wool & later weaving on a tri-loom. Before I started the fibery pursuits, I wandered by the S.P.O.T. (Saving Pets One at a Time) booth, where there were at least 20 kitties up for adoption. My heart melted. I love kitties (dogs, bunnies, sheep, alpacas. . .) We had up to five at a time when the kids were growing up. We have been kitty-less for about five years now. Heartbreaking when I lost the last ones. Getting back to the beginning of this very long paragraph, which was about our somewhat more-than-usual organized state, it seemed that perhaps this might be a good time to re-introduce kitties into our family, not just the Grand-Kitty Nuzzles who has been with us for a couple of weeks. So home came Angus the Gray, and Annabelle.

I know everybody can brag about their pets, and I am no exception. Angus has a particularly charming face, and, being a very fluffy long haired fellow, will need some grooming. As in brushing to remove undercoat, which would be a fun addition to my spinning stash. (I've spun Granddog before, but not kitty yet.) Annabelle is not as long-coated, but she is his sibling and she is also a charmer. Both have turned out to be purring motors with fur. Now if we can just get them to sleep through the night. . .

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Oh sure, he looks innocent enough. . .

This is my grandkitty, Nuzzles. Nuzzles & Brian & Robin have moved in with us for awhile until the non-furry members of this triad have jobs lined up, and they can determine where they will need to live. As I mentioned before, both Brian & Robin just graduated from University so they are in a transitional phase right now.

We have been a one-dog home for quite awhile now, but Miss Pooch seems unfazed by the presence of her new companion. Nuzzles, being a young cat, feels it imperative to pounce & prod, then run away at the speed of light while the pooch just goes "hmmmph" & turns away. Most disconcerting for Nuzzles, who, I think, is hoping for more in the way of reaction. The pooch, however, has seen many of these cat beings before, and is unimpressed by such antics.

Nuzzles has all manner of interesting things to play with at this house. We are not kitty-proof here, as there is yarn and/or fleece *everywhere* in open baskets and tote bags (which are extraordinarily fun to explore). And my, oh my, the Turkish drop spindle has become a favorite cat toy, especially when spinning a long thread to which somebody is connected.

I am in process of reorganizing now, hoping to develop a Yarn Containment System. You should all go out and buy stock in Rubbermaid.